Playboy Profile: Justin Tranter Is the Hero Pop Needs

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This one has been a long time coming. Justin Tranter deserves a profile as much as any of the pop stars I’ve written cover stories on for Billboard: Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Fifth Harmony, Cardi B, Nick Jonas… in part because he’s cowritten hit songs for all of them, and also (mostly) because he is an incredible human and indefatigable activist who’s fought against some long odds to succeed on multiple fronts in a very massive way. You can read all about his exploits in this Playboy profile, but Tranter has been popping up in my work for years. I wrote a piece on his old band Semi Precious Weapons for SPIN in 2010, and have consulted him as a secondary on so many pieces since. He’s been a huge part of making pop palatable again, and is helping shape the future for LGBTQ acceptance in America. Plus, he’s building schools. Enjoy.

Fearing & Loathing Music’s Biggest Awards Nights

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Whatever you think “going to the Grammys” means, we guarantee it’s less glamorous and more bizarre than what you’re imagining. At least for most of the press, who sit in small room adjacent to the ceremony, watching the thing on TVs and praying that a famous person will make a wrong turn and wind up on our measly little stage with a microphone miraculously in hand.

And it’s not just Music’s Biggest Night. In the awards season bridging 2012 to 2013, I attended the MTV Video Music Awards, the American Music Awards, and, yes, the Grammys, and my surreal behind-the-scenes experience wound up the stuff of an unexpected trilogy. In 2014, I returned to the Grammys just to make sure its was still weird (spoiler alert: it was). Continue reading